Beetle in Basement
Thu, Oct 16, 2008 at 6:10 PM
I am finding these beetles in my house. What are they? While I have found one on the main floor, most are appearing in my finished basement playroom. The living ones I have found seem to be trying to burrow in the carpet. In our utility room (unfinished basement space) I have found several carcases that spiders seem to have killed. Can you identify this bug from the attached image? Do I need to be concerned about finding these in my kids playroom?
Long Island, NY

Ground Beetle

Ground Beetle

Dear Long Island, NY,
This is a Ground Beetle in the genus Scarites.  It will not harm you, your children, or your home.  This Ground Beetle is a nocturnal predator that feeds on other insects.  You can read more about them on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Caterpillar Resembles Lizard and Bird Droppings
Fri, Oct 17, 2008 at 5:02 PM Dear Bugman,
Love the website. Maybe you can help me indentify these stranger caterpillars I found this morning terrorizing my baby lemon tree. At first, I thought they were lizards, because of the “eyes” on their backs, and noticed they also look like bird poo . The biggest one erected two giant antenae. I captured some of the larger, more aggressive ones and created a little habitat. Any chance they’ll turn into butterflies?
Thanks! -Kyle
Palm Springs, CA 92262

Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar

Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar

Hi Kyle,
This is a Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar and it will metamorphose into a large lovely brown and yellow butterfly.

Ever see a bug covered in spikes?
Thu, Oct 16, 2008 at 8:05 PM
Sam and I were so excited about getting your reply regarding our sand wasp burying a stinkbug that we need to ask you about this one: This amazing bug is about 3/4 of an inch long and covered with spikes! We found it in August in a prairie/marsh area walking on this plant. My son, 10, luckily got these two shots off just as his camera batteries died. This is one of our favorite bugs ever but we’ve never been able to identify it. Any ideas? You’re the best, Bugman!
Jimmy and Sam Schwartz
Prairie/wetlands, 35 miles west of Chicago

Helmeted Squash Bug Nymph

Helmeted Squash Bug Nymph

Hi again Jimmy and Sam,
We tried to post your answer yesterday, but we lost our internet connectivity. We have has the recurring intermittent problem with Time Warner since late July and the cable company can’t seem to correct our problem. We recognized this nymph as a Coreid or Leaf Footed Bug, but we needed to research the species. We located the Helmeted Squash Bug, Euthochtha galeator, on BugGuide, and we are satisfied that the identification of your specimen is correct.

Helmeted Squash Bug Nymph

Helmeted Squash Bug Nymph

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Aloe Vera Nesting Spider
Thu, Oct 16, 2008 at 5:13 PM
Hi Bugman, I stumbled across a good sized spider in my Aloe Vera plant. It is amber colored with darker ribbing on the legs, and cream and tan spikes on the back. I also have amber colored fangs. It seemed fairly docile, but I didn’t get too close.
Thanks!
To Ben, Ashley, and Elijah
Coastal San Diego

Argiope argentata

Argiope argentata

Hi Ben, Ashley and Elija,
Your spider is a Silver Garden Spider, Argiope argentata.  This species is found in California, the Gulf states and the Southeast US, and south into Mexico and Central America.  The spiders in the genus Argiope are quite docile in that they spin an orb web and remain in the web.  The web is spun anew daily and the webs often contain a stabilimentum.  The stabilimentum is a zigzag pattern woven into the web, and according to BugGuide:  “The function of the stabilimentum is not fully understood.  Hypotheses are; that it stabilizes the web, or makes it more apparent to birds which will thus not fly into and wreck it, or it reflects light to attract insect prey, or perhaps most likely helps to camouflage the spider in the web. ”

Thu, Oct 16, 2008 at 7:25 AM
Hi Daniel,
Thank you for identifying my “Spined Micrathena.”  I recently moved from New Hampshire to Mexico and keep finding bugs that I have never seen before.  Doing a Google search for “Spined Micrathena” I noticed that mine was the most colorful I could find.
I hope you can also identify this grasshopper – He is somewhat similar to this one I found in Tanzania in 1993 –
Sincerely,
David Brownell

Horselubber Grasshopper from Mexico

Horselubber Grasshopper from Mexico

Hi David,
The Mexican Grasshopper is a Horse Lubber Grasshopper, Taeniopoda eques, and we suspect the Tanzanian Grasshopper is one of the toxic milkweed grasshoppers in the family Pyrgomorphidae.  It is not an exact match to this specimen we found online, but it has similarities.

probably Milkweed Locust from Tanzania

probably Milkweed Locust from Tanzania

Nice antennae
Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 5:03 PM
What IS this? We shared our picnic table with it stopping for lunch on a long road trip from Texas to Oklahoma. Looks a little like a grasshopper, but I couldn’t easily identify it at bugguide.net . Love the antennae. Any idea?
My four kids and I love bugs and your site. Thanks for all you do to keep our budding entomologists busy.
Shannon
South OK

Long Horned Borer Beetle

Long Horned Borer Beetle

Hi Shannon,
This is a Long Horned Borer Beetle in the family Cerambycidae, most probably in the genus Monochamus.